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Los Angeles Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers Preview and Predictions 10-18-2020

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Two teams seeking to recapture the magic that led to recent Super Bowl appearances go head to head Sunday night when the Los Angeles Rams visit the San Francisco 49ers in an NFC West matchup.

The Rams (4-1) will be looking for their third road win of the season while the 49ers (2-3) attempt to pick up their first home victory in a duel of the NFC's past two Super Bowl representatives.

Los Angeles used a two-game sweep over its California rival as a springboard to a 13-3 season and the second seed in the 2018 NFC playoffs, during which they eliminated the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints before a Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots.

San Francisco turned the tables in 2019, capturing both of the home-and-home games in a 13-3 campaign that led to playoff wins over the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers before a defeat at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl.

The Rams endured a three-game losing streak early in the 2019 season and wound up missing the playoffs at 9-7. A 20-7 home loss to San Francisco capped that skid.

The Rams could send the 49ers to the same fate a year later when they take on a team that has lost two in a row, both at home.

San Francisco's most recent loss was its most disappointing. Despite getting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and running back Raheem Mostert back from injuries, the 49ers fell behind the Miami Dolphins 30-7 at halftime en route to a 43-17 embarrassment last week.

Fearing for his Garoppolo's health, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan pulled the quarterback at halftime. Garoppolo had missed the previous two games due to a high ankle sprain.

Garoppolo began this week as a full participant at practice, which gave him a head-start compared to his part-time status leading up to the Miami debacle.

"We're not going to hit him or anything," Shanahan said of the pre-Rams practices. "We'll see how he plays, if he gets better or worse from it, but I expect him to get better."

One 49ers concern this week is that they have allowed 18 sacks in five games, the fourth most in the NFL, while the Rams are tied with the Steelers for the league lead with 20 sacks.

Garoppolo hasn't been the only 49er in and out of the lineup. The team lost defensive star Nick Bosa for the season with a knee injury and announced this week that standout cornerback Richard Sherman had a setback while rehabbing a hamstring injury.

The Rams will take the field in far better shape physically, although they sustained a key loss when rookie safety Jordan Fuller reinjured his shoulder last week in a 30-10 win at Washington and had to be placed on injured reserve.

"Wanted to give him a few weeks," Rams coach Sean McVay said. "That was something that we felt like was going to be the best decision for him, and for us to be able to get him as healthy as possible."

Los Angeles has held four of its first five opponents under 20 points, but defenses have rested the last two times the Rams and 49ers met in prime time at Levi's Stadium.

The scoring spree began on a Thursday night in Week 3 of the 2017 season, when Jared Goff threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-39 Rams win.

The 49ers made the most of an under-the-lights rematch in Week 16 last season, getting a 34-31 win.

Goff, who grew up about 30 miles north of San Francisco in Novato, Calif., has thrown for eight touchdowns and plunged in for two of the Rams' nine rushing TDs this season, tied for tops in the NFL. He turned 26 on Wednesday.

--Field Level Media

Prediction

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Key Players to Watch

Stadium

Levi's Stadium
Santa Clara, California, USA.
Capacity: 68,500

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Last Injuries

San Francisco 49ers

  • Jeff Wilson Jr.

    Calf
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Wilson Jr. did not play the last game due to a calf injury, and it is unknown if he will suit up Sunday versus the Patriots.

  • Dante Pettis

    Knee
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Pettis was absent from the last two games with a knee injury, and it has yet to be established if he will draw back into the lineup Sunday versus the Patriots.

  • Raheem Mostert

    Ankle
    Out indefinitely | out

    Mostert sustained a high left ankle sprain, and he will miss an undetermined length of time.

  • Jaquiski Tartt

    Groin
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Tartt was forced from the last game with a groin injury, and it is unclear if he will be active against the Patriots on Sunday.

  • Trent Williams

    Head
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Williams was lifted from the previous contest with a head injury, and it is undetermined if he will face the Patriots on Sunday.

  • Kwon Alexander

    Ankle
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Alexander missed last game due to a high-ankle sprain, and it is undetermined if he will be active Sunday against the Patriots.

  • Dontae Johnson

    Groin
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Johnson has sat out the previous two games with a groin injury, and it remains to be seen if he will be available Sunday versus the Patriots.

  • Ben Garland

    Calf
    Ques Sun | questionable

    Garland sustained a calf injury in the last contest, leaving his availability against the Patriots on Sunday hazy.

Los Angeles Rams

  • Ogbonnia Okoronkwo

    Elbow
    Late Nov | out

    Okoronkwo sustained a significant elbow injury, and he is likely to miss four to six weeks.

  • Bobby Evans

    Shoulder
    Ques Mon | questionable

    Evans has missed the previous two games with a shoulder injury, and it is unclear if he will play Monday against the Bears.

  • Micah Kiser

    Groin
    Prob Sun | probable

    Kiser sat out the previous contest due to a groin injury, but it is likely that he will line up against the 49ers on Sunday.

  • Jordan Fuller

    Shoulder
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Fuller will be on the injured reserve list for an undetermined length of time with a shoulder injury.

  • Kenny Young

    Knee
    Prob Sun | probable

    Young is dealing with a knee injury, but it is projected that he will suit up against the Washington Football Team on Sunday.

  • Terrell Lewis

    Knee
    Prob Sun | probable

    Lewis has been activated from the Injured Reserve/Designated for Return list after recovering from a knee injury. It is anticipated that he will return Sunday against the Washington Football Team.

  • Troy Hill

    Ankle
    Prob Sun | probable

    Hill is anticipated to dress for Sunday's battle with the Washington Football Team despite an ankle injury.

  • Jordan Fuller

    Shoulder
    Prob Sun | probable

    Fuller missed the last game with a shoulder injury, but it is not expected to impede his status for Sunday's contest against the Washington Football Team.